Sunday, January 3, 2016

Wayfare Tavern - San Francisco

3/5 stars

I really, really wanted to fall in love with Wayfare Tavern.

I'm a Tyler Florence fan. He's dreamy and has the best tomato soup recipe on the Internet. I made gallons of it over the summer.

First impression was great. Wayfare Tavern is a very handsome restaurant with its dark wood, warm fire, and high ceilings. I pulled up to the bar, delighted to find homemade potato chips ready for me. Hubby, on the other hand, was very excited about the fresh popovers. They were huge, light, and fluffy.

I had trouble deciding what to drink so I asked the bartender if he had anything special in season. Just my luck - he did. Something he came up with just that morning, he said. It has grapefruit, bay leaf - he had me at bay leaf - sage, tequila, and ginger beer. I love all those things so he made it for me. It doesn't have a name yet, but hopefully you'll find it on the menu in the summer. Even though the ingredients screamed more "Fall" than "Spring," it was a very bright, refreshing cocktail. I hope the word, "Garden" makes it into the drink's name. 5 stars for the bartender.

I wanted to try at least two other cocktails, but we had SF Beer Week's Opening Celebration to attend that night so I certainly didn't need any more alcohol. So I ordered an iced tea and it came topped with lemon sorbet - what a fun treat!

Hubby and I decided to share the deviled eggs (one of our favorites), the burger (did you know that Food & Wine magazine named Tyler Florence's bacon burger one of the best in the U.S.?), and the fried chicken (even though I already knew it couldn't compare to Thomas Keller's).

Half a dozen deviled eggs arrived in a darling porcelain egg carton. They were whipped beautifully and topped with fried shrimp. I really enjoyed the relish. 5 stars for the deviled eggs.

Unfortunately, after the deviled eggs, that's when lunch became lackluster. I was hoping for that special something, but it never came.

Don't get me wrong, the food was good, but that's all it was.

At $21, I was expecting a mind-blowing burger. The best part of our burger was the perfectly cooked sunny-side up egg. I love how magical egg yolk is. Our requested medium was just a tad overcooked IMO, but it was still exceptionally juicy. The bun held up fine and the bacon, as promised, was delicious. However, the brie was no longer Cowgirl Creamery. It was unmemorable. The pickles needed to be thicker and ... I don't know. It was a solid burger, but it was nothing special. I would consider Umami's burger to be the better one in San Francisco. Oh, and the fries were pretty boring.

The chicken was almost too salty, but only almost. It was also fried a bit darker than I'd like. I enjoyed the intense presence of herbs (rosemary?), but my hubby didn't. I also liked the roasted garlic that came with the chicken. However, the most disappointing part was that nothing else came with the very expensive fried chicken. It was just chicken. No mashed potatoes. No creamed corn. Zip.

I'm pretty bummed I didn't love Wayfare Tavern. I can't get over how overpriced everything was. Add San Francisco's ridiculously expensive parking fees and I probably won't return, but it's okay. I still think Tyler Florence is dreamy.


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